Hall County students who chose to return to school will return with a mix of in-person and virtual learning for the first two weeks, starting Aug. 24, the system announced this morning.
Superintendent Will Schofield said the district is committed to keeping everyone safe, but he said he believes in in-person learning.
"We've been committed to two overriding principles. Number one, this is our first pandemic and we are committed doing everything possible to keep people as safe as possible," Schofield said during an interview with WDUN. "The second overriding principal is that boys and girls need to be in school."
The plan announced this morning affects only those students who have chosen the in-person instruction model.
Under the hybrid plan, students whose last names begin with the letters A-K will attend school on Mondays and Wednesdays. Students whose last names begin with the letters L-Z will attend school on Tuesdays and Thursday.
All students will attend on Fridays. Families with last names in two groups should contact their principals immediately to request a common schedule for their students.
This schedule will be followed the weeks of Aug. 24 and Aug. 31.
"What this does is gives up the opportunity to make sure we have our 200 percent accountability in place to keep everyone as safe as possible for eight of those days," Schofield said. "And on those two Fridays, it gives us the first runs at, can we get 100 percent of our in-person learners in place and make the tweaks with the hope that after Labor Day with have five-day-a-week in-person learning for those families who have chosen that."
Students who chose the virtual learning option will have school from home. Parents will have until Monday, Aug. 31 to decide whether they want in-person or at-home learning for their children.
Breakfast and lunch will be sent home daily for students who need meals when they are not scheduled to be in the building. Buses will run normal routes daily. Students and families are responsible for remembering days that they are to utilize district transportation to school.
The district will reassess after Sept. 4. The current plan is for all students who chose in-person learning will return to campus on Monday, Sept. 8, Schofield said.
"It didn't take a pandemic for us to learn that digital learning is not the same as in-person learning," the superintendent said. "Studies on that have been about for 15 years or so. We're not going try to kid our parents. We're going to do the best we can, but it's not going to be the same as boys and girls being in schools, getting that instruction, making those relationships, getting those other supports on a regular basis."